From Comic Books to BioTech!

When Steve Milo was 19, he started a mail order comic book business that he built and sold to help pay for college at University of Virginia. He had been collecting comics since the age of 12 and needed to support his education and comic collection. Deciding between a cafeteria job or selling comics was an easy decision. He would buy comics wholesale (roughly 75 cents) and sell them at retail ($5-10 per comic). Steve even produced his own catalogue on xerox paper. He posted and ran ads in collectable places and ran classified ads in different comics. He was creative with messaging and spotting trends like getting hundreds of copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics. He was working a full course load and running his business making over 100K per year!

After graduation he worked full-time for his own business and hired his first employee for his comic business who was an assistant who would answer phones and work at the retail store. Investors found out about his business and wanted to purchase it. Steve was ready to go digital at that point so he got out of the paper business and went to work at Marvel comics where he was the President of New Media. At the time he joined, the company was transitioning from comics to movies like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Fantastic 4, X-Men, and Spiderman. He was living in NY and after the bubble burst went on to backpack in Southeast Asia for two months. He was going to keep traveling but was recruited to Eye-Matic, a Los Angeles  based biometric tech company for both industrial and consumer products.

New Beginnings in Florida

After  9/11, there was a battle for control of the company, and he took a job with ‘The Bradford Group” who had as collectibles website called the “Bradford Exchange.” He was their head of ecommerce and they relocated him to Florida to start another division.

Steve wanted to create his own opportunity to use technology in the travel industry. He has a love of travel and started with a few properties in Florida. People started asking him to manage their properties and decided to take his property management business “Vacation Rental Pros” full-time in 2006. He started his business during a recession and did not hire anyone initially and then started hiring reservation agents. People were still traveling during the recession. Every year, he would add more properties and in 2009, started acquiring other property management companies. He bought one company per year between 2009-2014. In 2016, he started to expand beyond Florida, focusing on geographical diversity, different seasons, different customer bases, and looking at both the beach and mountains. It was the right decision. He bought companies mostly nearby but decided to expand to both New Mexico and Hawaii. Today, his brand Jackson Mountain Homes encompasses over 1600 properties across five states.

The Key to Success

Steve believes in starting slow and scaling, he thinks being too aggressive can backfire and starting with mid-sized companies, has given him room to improve. He attributes his success to keeping a pulse on the markets, looking at where customers are coming from and robust inventory. Above all, Steve believes in trusting your instincts and focusing on processing not what people say but what they do.